Who’s Responsible for Social Recruiting?

Jan 23, 2014
This article is part of a series called News & Trends.

Screen Shot 2014-01-14 at 11.06.48 AMCandidates today connect, communicate, and proactively do their homework as they interact with future employers through social media. Their first impression of your brand often takes place through your social media presence. They expect responsiveness, a person behind the brand voice, and the ability to ask questions, learn about job openings, and feel you out before they commit to clicking “apply.” The value of social recruiting is not in question. How to implement your social strategy is.

Who should be responsible for social recruiting? The answer depends on several factors. The size, depth, and internal resources of a company. Legal and compliance concerns. Current workload of sourcers and recruiters. The role marketing and communications already has in social.

But the driving factor always comes down to business strategy. Talent is critical for achieving strategic goals, and meeting that talent where they are — on LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, Twitter  — is expected by candidates.

Four Options to Consider for Social Recruiting

There are important factors to consider when determining who should be responsible for social recruiting. Companies typically face four choices:

  1. Put the burden of real-time social media postings and responses on your internal sourcers and recruiters
  2. Assign a dedicated employee or team to social recruiting
  3. Rely on marketing and communications to handle social recruiting
  4. Partner with your recruitment process outsourcing firm to create/expand your social capabilities

There are pros and cons to consider for each approach. Here are key questions to explore as you consider the best tactic for your company.

Can the Internal Sourcing/Recruitment Team Handle It?

If you have an internal sourcing/recruitment team, chances it already has its hands full with the requisition lifecycle. Questions to ask here are: does it have the bandwidth to take on regular social media postings, responses, and interactions in addition to its current workload? If yes, does it understand the best practices for social media recruiting and how to implement them? Will social receive the attention it deserves, fall to the back burner, or conversely, edge out other key duties?

Global, multi-division companies may very well have the capacity to add social recruiting to their internal sourcing/recruitment team. For many companies, however, the commitment required is challenging, particularly with thinly stretched teams. The advantages of having your internal team handle social recruiting is that they are close to the requisition lifecycle, have daily interactions with hiring managers, know the latest status on openings, and can respond more fluidly on social sites. Consider, too, that social media requires professionals who understand the guidelines for brand voice, have the writing skills and personality to represent the brand well, and will adhere to any compliance or regulatory guidelines for your industry.

Questions to Ask:

  • Can your current internal employee/team handle the additional workload?
  • Do they understand social media strategies, best practices, and candidate engagement
  • Are marketing resources available to create custom career collateral?

Do Our Needs Justify a Dedicated Social Media Recruiter/Team?

A dedicated social recruiter/team can provide the real-time presence that the medium demands. They also have the capacity to build a strong relationship with marketing and communications (who are also presenting the brand on social media) and can take advantage of  joint opportunities to showcase the brand. Dedicated social recruiters typically, however, do not have the same relationship and daily interaction with hiring managers or the VP of talent management as the sourcing/recruiting team has. This reduces their agility to shape social media content around the fluctuating requisition cycle. They may require a source for content (often the recruiting team) instead of being a first-hand source themselves.

Someone solely focused on social recruiting, though, will quickly become an expert at it and can ensure that content consistently represents the brand to candidates. They can own the process and more readily make sure that social media content and interactions adhere to compliance and internal policies.

Ultimately, companies must gauge whether their social media recruiting efforts (how many posts, where, when, per day, and various campaigns) and the pros of not having the sourcing/recruiting team handle it, justify the cost of a full-time dedicated employee or team.

Question to Ask:

  • Are the demands such that one or more employee can be dedicated to social media?

Will MarCom be Plagued by the “Middleman” Syndrome?

Marketing/communications is well positioned to create compelling career content and collateral that supports your specific talent acquisition and requisition needs. They know the brand and will uphold a consistent representation to candidates. One drawback that tends to occur is the “middleman” syndrome — where a candidate asks to connect to a recruiter or asks a very specific question that only talent acquisition knows the answer to. This cross-departmental communication can cause extra delays and is time consuming for all parties involved.

Questions to Ask:

  • Is marketing able to meet real-time talent acquisition team/requisition needs?
  • Does it have the bandwidth to support additional workload, including marketing collateral and interdepartmental communication?
  • Does it have the knowledge/expertise to address talent acquisition and recruitment questions and provide guidance to candidates?

Should Your RPO Handle Your Social Recruiting?

PO firms have dedicated teams, playbooks, and social media strategies that align with your recruitment process. You set the rules of engagement and policy, as well as approve content; the RPO’s sourcing and recruiting professionals post, join in discussions, create marketing collateral, and serve as the social ambassadors for your company. This frees up your internal resources and aligns your social recruiting strategy with your RPO strategy. Most organizations who pursue an RPO route do so because they have limited internal headcount or bandwidth to handle a growing requisition process, which means that social recruiting can be a burdensome duty as well. Having your RPO sourcing and recruiting teams engaged in your social channels can streamline both recruiting processes.

Questions to Ask:

  • How can your internal team leverage the time an RPO will save them?
  • What is the impact of having your social recruiting campaigns fully aligned to your real-time requisition needs?
  • What is the advantage of ensuring that your candidates receive a consistent representation of your brand?

Whether you add social recruiting to an internal team, hire a dedicated social recruiter, have MarCom manage it, or assign it to your RPO firm, careful planning for rules of engagement, policies, and setting measurable ROI metrics will help ensure that social recruiting positions your company as an employer of choice in your industry.

This article is part of a series called News & Trends.
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